They forget to write checks and REFUSE help. What to do?

2 answers | Last updated: Sep 17, 2016
-kal asked...

My grandparents (grandma in charge) forget to pay the bills. She'll get a call or make one after something is shut off. They then transfer directly out if the account but won't set up auto pay. She says I'm in her will to get everything but seems to trust me with nothing so I can help them. What happens if she/they become incompetent? What can I do when she refuses to believe nothing is wrong with her and never will be?


Expert Answers

Sadly, this is not an uncommon problem: an elder parent or grandparent who is unwilling to consider getting help with financial (or health care) matters, although younger family members believe that the parent/grandparent sorely needs help. And sadly, it is usually a problem that doesn't have a convenient solution.

Realistically, you have two options: 1) To somehow convince your grandmother to let you help. I don't know her, and your, personal situation, and I can't suggest how you could convince your grandmother. If there are others in your family who see this concern as you do, perhaps all of you could speak to your grandmother.

If your grandmother remains insistent that she will not accept help, your only legal remedy is to file a lawsuit seeking to have her declared legally incompetent and have a financial guardian or custodian appointed to handle her finances. This type of lawsuit will be expensive (lawsuits usually are). As I'm sure know know, lawyers charge by the hour, and they charge a lot for each hour. Also, this type of lawsuit can become nasty. If your grandmother fights the lawsuit, you could wind up with a court trial requiring evidence of her incompetence, expert witnesses, cross-examination and then a judge (or jury) ruling on her competence. It would all be very unpleasant. [And she might decide to exclude you from her will.

As I've said before about these types of situations, the existence of a problem does not necessarily mean that there is a satisfactory solution.


Community Answers

-kal answered...

Thanks for your input, we didn't figure it would be easy. Also, how would our relationship proceed after an ordeal like that (& like you mentioned; broke and outa the will).